Saturday, April 30, 2011

Tuesdays with Mr. M

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A student approached me at my school about five months ago; I’ll call him “Mr. M.” He wanted me to teach him to play guitar.

Now, I’d never taught someone to play guitar before – not really. I mean, I’d had small groups of students in an after-school class for eight or nine weeks, meeting once every seven days, but that was the extent of my musical teaching experience. I put Mr. M off, telling him that it would have to be approved with his parents before I agreed to any such type of undertaking.

His mom contacted me later that day, indicating her excitement that I’d be teaching her son to play—if I were indeed willing.

I won’t lie; I felt a trifle overwhelmed at the prospect and sorely contemplated telling Mr. M that I was too busy to teach a private guitar lesson each week. Considering my then-current schedule, fitting a 30-45 minute session in each week was going to be a stretch; as Bilbo Baggins so eloquently put it, it would be “like butter scraped over too much bread.”

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Moments with Joey – Resting Rooms

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SCENE 1, INTERIOR. MIDMORNING, CLASSROOM. The class is working in small groups on math review problems as the teacher moves from group to group checking over their work. As he moves across the room he is approached by a 5th grade boy.

JOEY: Mr. Z, I’m going to the rest room, okay?

TEACHER: Oh, are you tired?

[The boy looks confused before an expression of dawning comprehension flashes across his face].

JOEY: What I meant is that I’m going to go to the bathroom.

TEACHER: You’re going to take a bath? Here at school?

[The boy shakes his head and tries to hide a smile. He rolls his eyes and tries to use a sarcastic tone].

JOEY: Yeah, I thought I’d take one in the toilet.


TEACHER: Well, you better flush twice then...

[The boy chokes on a laugh as he picks up the basketball hall pass filled with rocks and moves out into the hallway].

[Fade to black].

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Media of the Week - Boyce Avenue

Pin It I was recently introduced to Boyce Avenue's cover of Tracy Chapman's Fast Car by a fellow blogger, Carly.

And then I found this other little gem by the same group that I enjoyed quite a bit...

By the way, I posted over at Four Perspectives if you were interested. If you're not interested, I still posted...

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Messages from the Future

Pin It I was sitting in the kitchen, getting ready to enjoy a quiet dinner, when I heard a strange sound coming from the living room. Thinking of gremlins, prowlers, and other things that go bump in the night, I went to investigate and was surprised to find my printer whirring as it woke itself up from sleep mode. Something was going on; something strange was happening.

But I hadn’t printed anything.

And yet, as I stood there, a document was emerging from the printing tray.

I cautiously leaned over and took the sheet of paper from the out-tray, feeling the heat soak into my fingers as I gazed at the letterhead - which was oddly addressed to me.

What the heck?

Well, one should always listen to their future self, right? After all, they probably know exactly what they’re talking about.

I also took the copy of Toy Story 3 over to my neighbor – with whom I share a wireless network. Funny though, he wasn’t at all surprised that I was bringing it over. I can only assume that I must have faxed him from the future as well…

Man, but I’m considerate.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Moments with Joey – Zimmered

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SCENE 1, INTERIOR. AFTERNOON, HALLWAY. The teacher is picking up his class from the school library. As the kids are moving into the hallway for a three-minute break, they are having a discussion about the shooting record of Jimmer Fredette and the final few games of the basketball season. The conversation then shifts to their teacher’s last name…

STUDENT 1: You know Mr. Z could school you.

STUDENT 2: Yeah, you could be Z’d

STUDENT 3: Or Zimmerman’d


JOEY: Zimmered

[The classmates in the vicinity start to grin and begin making comments to each other like: yeah, Zimmered! Being Zimmered would be cool!].

SCENE 2, INTERIOR. AFTERNOON, CLASSROOM. The class is getting ready for afternoon recess. As one student throws a wadded-up piece of trash toward the wastebasket, Joey leaps in the way and catches it before it goes in.

JOEY: Oh yeah. I’m awesome.

[The teacher looks at the boy for a second and shakes his head].

TEACHER: You know, my dog used to get excited like that when he’d catch the food I’d throw to him…

[The boy grins].

JOEY: Oh yeah, I’m a dog replacement!

TEACHER: Only you would be excited about that…

[The boy grins even wider and then breaks into song].

JOEY: ♫ ♪ Can you teach me how to Zimmer? Teach me how to Zimmer… ♪

TEACHER: When I Zimmer you, you’ll know.

[The boy starts to dance around as the teacher rolls his eyes and walks away].

SCENE 3, INTERIOR. AFTERNOON, CLASSROOM. The class is taking out their picture books to practice their fluency before going to their second grade buddy class. As they get ready to read, Joey raises his hand.

JOEY: Mr. Z?

TEACHER: What is it, Joey?

JOEY: Whenever I read out loud I try to think of how you’d read the book and I hear your voice in my head. Then I try to read that same way and make it sound the way that you’d have made it sound.

TEACHER: Congratulations, Joey…you’ve been Zimmered.

[The class bursts out laughing].

[Fade to black].

Oh, and I am posting today over at Four Perspectives. You just might find it magical...

Thursday, April 14, 2011

California - Day 3: The Streets

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Can you take a guess where a few of these streets were used?


And I even listened to the song...

Oh, and I'll be at Disneyland Friday and Saturday if you're going to be in the area; I'd love too meet you!

California - Day 2: Sailing

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The splay of salt air and the waves was amazing as the wind whipped through our hair...until it swept over the deck to where I was sitting...

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

California - Day 1: Big Burger & Little Towns

Pin It It had been nearly 11 hours of driving. We’d slowly watched as the telltale remnants of winter vanished as we crossed over the Sierra Nevada Mountains, letting spring take full throttle. The signs we’d seen indicating we were passing Donner’s Summit – and the rumbling in my stomach – reminded me that we’d not eaten in quite some time.

After a dozen or so songs from an iPod playlist, I reached over to my trusty TomTom, whom I’d earlier christened as ‘Vicky’, and typed in a desire for victuals along our route. As per usual, Vicky gave us a plethora of options, one of which that stood out was simply because of its name: Big Burger.

Janelle and I discussed the list of choices, but Big Burger was the one we both settled on. After a few miles we pulled off the Corcord exit as Vicky directed us, and were led toward the destination she had locked away in her memory chips. As we circled over the freeway and drove the slope of road down the hill, this particular urban development we ventured into was sketchy at best; a ramshackle remnant that time seemed to have missed when it was dropping elderly towns into the recycle bin.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Teachinfourth & The Kingdom of the Magical Mouse

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What if I told you I was going to California?

What if I told you that I was driving?

What if I told you that I’d love to meet you...

at Disneyland?

Friday or Saturday…it's your choice. The Zmail link is on the bottom left sidebar under the picture of Ethan. Just think of it; a blogger meeting at the happiest place on Earth? Now just how cool would that be?

Yeah, that’s what I thought…

I'll even ride on the Indiana Jones ride with you.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Moments with Joey – Games People Play

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SCENE 1, EXTERIOR. AFTERNOON, PLAYGROUND. Most of the class is playing on the playground equipment with the exception of one fifth-grade boy. The boy is following his teacher around as the teacher watches his students go down the slide, traverse the monkey bars, or attempt parkour. All the while, the boy is chatting incessantly. After several minutes of relentless talk, the teacher moves to the bench to sit down, the boy quickly slips under him and then starts to giggle.

TEACHER: What are you doing? Are you trying to be a chair?

[The boy continues to laugh as the teacher sits down next to him.]

JOEY: I want to do something.

TEACHER: So go do something.


JOEY: I want to play a game.

TEACHER: So go play a game.


JOEY: I want to play a game with you.

[The teacher looks at the boy, and then at the rest of the class playing on the equipment before answering in a quiet voice.]

TEACHER: There’s only one game I know how to play...and it’s awesome.

JOEY: [Breathlessly] Really? What game is that?

TEACHER: The game’s called...‘Be Mean to Joey.”

[The boy looks a trifle concerned.]

JOEY: How do you play it?

[The teacher looks around and notices the wood chips on the playground.]

TEACHER: Well, first you find a boy named Joey, and then fill his underwear with wood chips. After that you roll him around all over the ground…it’s pretty fun.

[There is a pause as the boy looks at his teacher.]

JOEY: But I don’t wear underwear, Mr. Z.


TEACHER: That’s a little bit too much information there, Joey…going commando.

JOEY: No, I wear boxers.

TEACHER: Oh, so you’re a fighter?

[The boy bursts out laughing.]

JOEY: So, can we play a game?

[Fade to black.]

Oh, and I did post yesterday over at Four Perspectives.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

I Deleted Them All

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I came home on Saturday night after ComedySportz and decided to check Facebook.

I immediately found myself inundated with updates—many of them from old students who were never actually in my class. In fact, there were so many updates that I had no recent activity listed from family and close friends – these didn’t even make it to my homepage because they’d been pushed down so far in the queue. I had been hit – yet again – with the familiar “So-And-So Answered A Question About you” and “Is Teachinfourth A Good Friend?” amongst half-a-dozen other apps yet again requesting me to ‘be a friend’ and do this or that. It seemed that no matter how many times I’d chosen to block these types of apps, others would spring up to take their place, as well as multiple updates from the same person taking up an entire wall page.

It was getting old.

Really old.
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